Chicago hotels see slight boost as city sets to reopen

Downtown and overall occupancy rates rose, according to STR, as mayor sets June 3 for wider business reopenings

Chicago /
May.May 29, 2020 02:25 PM
Lori Lightfoot (Credit: KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

City hotel occupancy rates inched up in latest numbers, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot just set date more businesses can reopen.  (Credit: KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

As Chicago prepares for a wide range of business reopenings, its hotels have reported another week of improving numbers.

Occupancy at Downtown hotels inched up to 16.9 percent for the week ending May 23, according to hospitality data firm STR. That marks the third week in a row of climbing occupancy rates in the central business district. The total is still well under the 35.6 percent mark it reached for the week ending March 14. That was before rates began to crater.

Overall occupancy in Chicago hotels also climbed, to 28.2 percent. That marked the eighth straight week the total has increased, STR found. The last time it was this high was also the week ending March 14, when the total stood at 43.8 percent. Nationwide, hotel occupancy rates hovered around 35 percent.

The most recent temperature check comes as Mayor Lori Lightfoot set June 3 as the date for a number of business reopenings, according to Crain’s. Those reopenings, which the mayor announced on Thursday, will include real estate services, offices, hotels, and restaurants with outdoor dining at reduced capacity. Some recreation areas will also be included.

The mayor’s Phase 3 plan, called “Cautiously Reopen,” will also see city services opening up, but not until June 8, according to the report.

Chicago had lagged behind the state on a number of metrics Gov. J.B. Pritzker detailed when he mapped out Illinois’ path to retail and office reopenings earlier this month. Lightfoot said Chicago’s reopenings are in line with the governor’s plan.

Chicago’s hotel industry has been one of the hardest hit segments of the economy and STR’s new data shows it still has a long road back to pre-Covid levels. Average daily rate and revenue per available room are well below their mid-March levels at Downtown and overall Chicago hotels.

A handful of hotels downtown have benefited from the city’s program to pay for rooms to house frontline workers and coronavirus patients, but the program may be ending soon.

For the most recent numbers, Downtown hotels posted $98.11 ADR and $16.61 RevPar; while overall Chicago hotels showed $71.59 ADR and $20.19 RevPar.


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